Little known fact: grammar and punctuation are but a small shred of the editing game. Sure, we editors by definition pore over words; but very little of that actually goes on at the office, which is a bustling hive of activity. (Like many other editors, my actual editing and reading happens on nights and weekends.) As a YA editor, I consider it my job to stay on top of news and pop culture (an excuse to putter around online!). I also value the importance of fostering professional relationships (an excuse to gallivant around town!). But what actually happens in the nine-to-five? Here’s a glimpse.
8:15am: Wake up a predictable fifteen minutes late because I am loath to break routine. Check email in bed as dog snuffles around for attention. Feed dog while mentally re-capping to-do list and experiencing fleeting bouts of anxiety over unfinished duties, exacerbated by morning emails.
9am: Walk dog around block. Attempt to orchestrate accidental run-in with cute neighbor and his even cuter Australian Shepherd.
9:10am: Head out the door, armed with novel and gym gear. Squash onto L-train and devote myself to twenty blissful minutes of non-work-related reading.
9:30am: Arrive at office with wet hair. Mentally berate myself for not being able to wake up prior to 8:15am.
9:40am-ish: [Settle in, obtain morning mug of plain hot water because I read somewhere that hot water aids digestion]
10am: Morning greeting with Traci, a colleague, who shows me adorable illustration of prancing baby ostriches. We laugh and I demonstrate the human version of an ostrich leap.
10:10am: Fifty minutes to answer emails and prep for edit meeting. There are well over one hundred new emails but I skim for the most urgent and answer those first. If nothing else, children’s publishing is about urgency!
10:40am: Read/take notes on other editors’ submissions for editorial meeting. OH NO-slash-OH YES! An exciting-sounding submission has hit my inbox. Now I do not wish to attend edit meeting, because I would rather be reading. However, I must.
11am: Editorial meeting. Chit-chat about possible acquisitions: their market viability, whether they’ll appeal to their target audience, whether they can stand out from others in the genre, how passionately we feel that these are “Abrams” books, how to strategically position them. Discuss what it means to be an “Abrams book.” Discuss literary crushes from adolescence.
12pm: Dash back to desk to read thrilling new submission—this one is hot!
1pm: This is a writing-heavy week (three drafts of flap copy due, two letters due to marketing for a mailing, an edit letter due), so I turn my attention to flap copy.
2pm: Cover meeting. Design reveals their latest brilliant concepts and the team (editorial, sales, marketing, executive) weighs in. We discuss the tone of the book as well as what’s working in the market, what our buyers want, and everything from typeface to color palette. We depart cautiously optimistic.
3pm: Create pub board materials for potential new acquisition. Work up profit and loss sheet, sheet of comparative titles, and letter to author and/or agent.
4:30pm: Friend from Sales comes in to give me a big hug, because it’s been a while. She is radiantly pregnant and lets me ask a lot of inappropriate questions as well as touch her stomach, which I have read you are not supposed to do under any circumstances because it’s incredibly annoying and a violation of space.
5pm: Time to finally forage for food. There’s a deli down the street that sells strawberry nutella crepes. I go there under the pretense of purchasing a healthy sashimi platter.
5:30pm: Author call to discuss edits. We engage in lengthy discussions about two plot points in particular and the general problem of diversity (or a lack thereof) in children’s books.
6pm: Time to return to the 2-do list, after hitting up my colleague’s candy jar for an early evening pick-me up. There’s stuff to mail, eighty new emails to answer, submissions to read, bulleted edits to write in paragraph form, plus all that aforementioned flap copy to finish writing. I accomplish ½ a task and forward all new, agented submissions to my Kindle before running to a 6:30 “Ass & Abs” class at the gym.
7:30pm: Glutes bewildered and aching, I embark on the L and actually find a seat because I’ve missed the rush hour commute. (Hooray!) I open my Kindle and begin to read. And read…and read…and read…until it’s time for bed.